By Sylvanus Ofekun
Officials of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria who participated in ‘sharing’ the $135,000 being an excess payment of grant done by error by the world athletics ruling body IAAF have been given three days to refund the money or resign from their positions in the troubled federation.
Permanent secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports development,Olushade Adesola gave the directive after an emergency meeting of the AFN board Tuesday evening in Abuja.
Although,details of the meeting between officials of the AFN and the sports ministry look sketchy,but there are strong indications that bulk of the money was spent on buying kits for the 2018 African Championships in Asaba.
A top official of the ministry told the Vanguard yesterday that “It is an embarrassment to this country what has been going on in the AFN. Those who have shared the money must have to refund it or they should just honourably resign from the board.”
“When it was obvious that our athletes would face an international embarrassment due to lack of kits, we approached the Permanent Secretary for money. He said we should put our request in writing, which we did. Then, the AFN Secretary General Amaechi Akawo was already in Asaba working with the LOC for the championship.
“But when the file got to the table of Tayo Oreweme (Director, Federation of Elite Athletes Department (FEAD) in the Sports ministry), she insisted that such requests should be made by the AFN secretary.
So Akawo had to come down to Abuja to apply for the money. I was in Europe for the kits, and that was what saved us from international embarrassment. But I must say that it is not true for anybody to say that we used the IAAF money to buy kits. No, it is not true. And it is not also true that we got N13 million for the trip to Abidjan. The issue of the IAAF money is receiving attention. It will be taken care of soon,” Adeleye stated.
The IAAF had given Nigeria two weeks starting from May 15 to refund the money or face sanctions which may likely be a global ban.